Spectacular views of Cork harbour abound from atop Curraghbinny Hill overlooking the waters. It is one of the world's finest natural harbour's with many river estuaries feeding it. The Rivers Douglas, Owenacurra, and Lee drain within and allow some portage for ships to communities along their banks to the harbour. The Harbour itself is a Special Protected Area because of the avian species that inhabit its banks. More historically, it is known for being the last port of call for the "The Titanic". It is also home to three military installations: the historic jail site "Spike Island", Fort Carlisle, and Fort Camden. The oldest yacht club in the world, known as the RCYC, as "The Water Club of the Harbour of Cork" was founded in 1720 C.E. The Irish Maritime and Energy Resource Cluster (IMERC) that studies ocean energy operates from the harbour, and along its banks are located eight out of the ten world's largest pharmaceutical companies.
A natural harbour and river estuary at the mouth of the River Lee. Based on its navigation area, it is the second largest natural harbour in the world ... the first being Port Jackson in Sydney, Australia. Cork City, the largest city at its bank, is slightly upstream on the River Lee from the Harbour while its suburbs of Black Rock, Mahon, Passage West, Rochester, and Douglas are much closer to the harbour. Smaller towns around the lower harbour area are Monkstown, Ringaskiddy, Ballinacurra, Midleton, Passage West, Crosshaven, Raffeen, Great Island, Whitegate, Aghada, and Cobh. There are numerous islands in the harbour such as Harper Island, Hop Island, Haulbowline Island, Great island, Fota Island, Little Island, Spike Island, Rocky Island, Brown Island, Weir Island, Brick Island, Corkbeg Island, and Hop Island. Cork Harbour had a number of fortifications (such as Fort Charles) built around it during the 17th century C.E. to protect essentially Cork City. Haulbowline installed fortifications during the 18th century in order to protect anchorage in Cobh. When America was gaining its independence, Cork Harbour built forts at Fort Carlisle and Fort Camden. The harbour didn't have too much military importance until the Napoleonic Wars took place one naval headquarters were transferred here becoming an important anchorage to guard the English Channel and maintain blockades of France. Fortifications continued to be developed thru the 19th century. Fort Templebreedy was built just to the south of Fort Camden beginning of the 20th century. Once Irish Independence was won, Cork Harbour was included with Lough Swilly and Berehaven in a list of Naval British sites that would remain under control of the Royal Navy even though the Haulbowline Island naval dockyard was given to the Irish in 1923. With Irish Independence however, controlling and maintaining the Cork harbour became a difficult operation. It became a low Priority and disadvantage to keep for the English, so in 1938 the British Government handed them over to Ireland unconditionally. At this point, Ireland ceased using most of the military installations for military purposes as there was no need for them. Fort Carlisle was renamed Fort Davis and used by the Defence Forces for FIBUA training. Fort Camden was renamed Fort Meagher and is currently being renovated by local volunteers and enthusiasts as a tourist attraction. Fort Westmoreland was renamed Fort Mitchell Spike Island Prison and is also being used as a tourist attraction. Haulbowline Island's fortifications are now the headquarters of the Irish Naval Service.
Today the Harbour is one of the most important industrial areas located in Ireland where shipbuilding, steel-making, and fertilizer manufacture took place even though today they are on the down-climb and replaced by the pharmaceutical industry. Here firms like Novartis, GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, Janssen Pharmaceutica, and others are conducting major business. They however too have been affected by the economic crisis and the 100+ pharmaceutical companies in the area have been affected during recent years. Transport through the harbour include import and export of oil, livestock, dairy, pharmaceuticals, grain, ore, cars, and other merchandise. It is also a major tourist port with numerous cruise ships and ferries coming to port here.
A massive river that flows between Lake Ontario and Lake Erie for approximately 35 miles in length. It is home to the famous "Niagara Falls" both on the U.S. and Canadian sides. It is dotted with falls, whirlpools, and rapids along its course. There are also several islands along the run of the river: The two largest and most popular are the Navy Island and the Grand Island. Other popular ones include Goat Island, Luna Island, and Squaw Island. The river forms the border between Ontario, Canada and New York, USA. Many legends amiss around the river, as does its name origin. An Iroquois belief is it was named after a branch of the Neutral Confederacy called the "Niagagarega" in the late 17th century. Others state it was named after the Iroquois village "Ongniaahra" or "point of land cut in two". Today the river is dotted with, especially within the Falls area, hydroelectric power stations. The two most famous of which is the Sir Adam Beck Hydro-electric Power Station in Canada and the Robert Moses Niagara Power Plant in the U.S.A. It was America's first waterway to harness large scale hydro-electricity. Ships coming down the Niagara River use the Welland Canal of the Saint Lawrence Seaway to bypass the Falls. The Falls drop over 325 feet along its gorge fallway. It has two tributaries - the Welland River and Tonawanda Creek which were adapted into Canals for ship traffic such as the Erie Canal and the Welland Canal. The first European exploits of the area begin in the 17th century with French explorer Father Louis Hennepin published in the 1698 "A New Discovery of a Vast Country in America". Some of the first railways built in America were built along this river, including the inclined wooden tramway built by John Montresor in 1764 called "The Cradles" and "The Old Lewiston Incline". The River has seen its share of battles and wars, including ones between Fort Niagara (U.S.) and Ft. George (Canada) during the French and Indian War, American Revolution, Battle of Queenston Heights, and War of 1812. It was also very important during the American Civil War as a point where slaves crossed via the Underground Railway to Canada.